Creating a weekly menu plan is something I highly endorse and recommend here at Skinny Mom’s Kitchen. It is one of the key strategies that I use to save time in the kitchen; stay sane during the week; and keep on track with eating healthy. When I start the week with a menu plan it is more likely I will consume healthier foods, smaller portions, and fewer calories. Instead of mindless eating, I eat with intention!
The downside to menu planning is that it takes time – sometimes lots of time. You need to research and organize recipes, write a grocery list, and figure out when to eat everything. It can get overwhelming especially for menu planning newbies. Because of the effort involve, especially at first, people shy away from menu planning. However, I am here to encourage you to keep at it because I know once you get the hang of menu planning it is such a valuable tool.
I have compiled a list of menu planning resources below. Each of these resources I have used individually and combined with others to develop a menu planning system that works for my family.
The good (or bad) thing about menu planning is that it is ever changing depending on schedules, dietary needs, and whatever might be going on with your family at that time. Find what menu plan system works for you but don’t be afraid to change it up.
Please check back often because as I find more resources I will add them to this page.
Menu Planning Services
I would have never thought a paid menu planning service was something I would like or need – that is until I tried it. Now I absolutely love having the option of an already prepared menu plan with a grocery list available when I am really busy. Knowing the amount of time and effort that goes into menu planning I think the membership costs for these services are a steal. Most of them have free sample menu plans or trial offers so you can test them out before you buy.
I have a membership to each of these menu planning services. While they all are created to simplify the menu planning process each of them have unique features. I recommend taking a look at all of them to see which one best suits your family’s needs and lifestyle. There are other menu planning services out there but these are the three that I use.
Emeals is a paid menu planning service that offers over 30 menu plan options to choose from. I use the clean eating plan but you can choose from gluten free, low carb, low fat, portion control, vegetarian, and regular options. Then, if store sales are important to you, you can decide which store you would like to match your plan up with. With each menu plan you get easy to follow recipes and an organized aisle by aisle grocery list. Plans are as low as $5 – $7 a month. Read more about emeals here. Or you can see my full review here.
The Fresh 20 is a paid menu planning service that prepares weekly menu plans using only 20 fresh seasonal and basic pantry ingredients. They pride themselves on creating menus that do not use any processed or frozen ingredients. I use their classic menu plan but you can also choose from the gluten free and vegetarian/vegan. What I love about these menu plans is that they give you prep instructions to have your meals ready for the week. This is something I highly encourage SMK readers to do and I was really happy to see that feature. Another major perk is annual members have access to all the menu plan archives. This way, if you are not crazy about the current menu plan, you can always cruise through previous ones. They also provide the nutritional information for their menus – I think this is something they just recently started to do so I am not sure if you will find that in all the archives. Nonetheless, that is still a nice bonus, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Membership is $49 for the year or $5 a month for a 3 month membership. Read more about The Fresh 20 here.
If a preplanned menu plan is not your cup of tea but you still would like some help simplifying the menu planning process then try Plan to Eat. Plan to Eat is a paid menu planning service that puts the organization and recipe control back into your hands. I absolutely love this service. There are 3 awesome functions to this service. The first function I found incredible helpful was the recipe import. This alone is worth the money in my opinion. From your Pinterest finds to your magazine clippings you can organize all of your recipes in one place. Then, there is the menu planning calendar. Just drag and drop the recipes you want to eat that week and bam it is all right there. But, the coolest part is once you drag the recipes into your calendar all the ingredients are added into a shopping list. Awesome! Now it does take some time to get all your recipes imported but trust me it is worth it. There is much more to this service than what I can write here so just head on over and take a look. I purchased the annual membership for $39 a year but they also have a $5 monthly membership. They also have a 30 day free trial membership for you to test out the service.
**Please note that I am an affiliate for these paid menu planning services. However, I use all of them and would not recommend if I did not think they were totally awesome. If you do join with my affiliate link thank you for supporting Skinny Mom’s Kitchen.